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US close: Markets finish mixed as trade remains in focus

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Wall Street trading finished on a mixed note on Thursday, as investors kept a watchful eye on trade talks between the US and Canada and any developments in terms of relations with China, with a slew of data releases also in focus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Averageended the session up 0.08% at 25,995.87, while the S&P 500 was down 0.37% at 2,878.05 and the Nasdaq 100 lost 0.93% to 7,453.17.

Trade talks between the US and Canada resumed on Wednesday after the two failed to reach an agreement last week.

Donald Trump described the NAFTA talks as “intense” and accused Canada of “taking advantage”, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a radio interview that he would insist on certain safeguards, as Trump doesn’t always follow the rules.

Still, after a day of talks with US trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer, Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said progress was being made.

US relations with China were also still very much in focus, with Trump expected to slap 25% tariffs on another $200bn of Chinese goods this week.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said it hadn’t been the most memorable week of the year so far, but the back-end promises to be far more interesting, with the US jobs report being released on Friday, which always attracts the interest of investors, and attention once again falling on trade.

China warned earlier that it will be forced to retaliate if the US implements new tariffs measures.

“If the United States, regardless of opposition, adopts any new tariff measures, China will be forced to roll-out necessary retaliatory measures,” ministry spokesman Gao Fen said.

Gao said that China will monitor the impact of any new tariffs and adopt measures to help Chinese or foreign firms in China tackle any difficulties.

On the macro calendar, private sector employment in the US rose by less than expected in August, according to data released by ADP on Thursday.

Employers added 163,000 jobs versus expectations for a 190,000 increase. Meanwhile, July’s total was revised down to 217,000 from 219,000.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees added 21,000 jobs, while medium businesses with between 50 and 499 employees added 111,000 jobs. Large companies with 500 or more employees recruited an extra 31,000 people.

Elsewhere, a key indicator of the health of the US jobs market improved more than expected last week as firms continued to tread cautiously when it came to firing staff.

Initial jobless claims for the week ending on 1 September dropped by 10,000 to reach 203,000, according to the Department of Labor.

That was better than the decline to 215,000 which economists at Barclays Research had forecast and the lowest reading since December 1969 – as well as a new cycle low.

US labour productivity picked-up noticeably over the second quarter, but not by enough to dampen unit labour cost growth when compared with the same period one year ago.

Non-farm labour productivity per hour in the States expanded at a 2.9% clip in quarterly annualised terms over the three months to June, according to the Department of Labor.

In other data news, IHS Markit’s final US services PMI fell to 54.8 in August versus the 56 recorded in July.

Output growth was largely attributed by panellists to greater client demand and the opening of new facilities.

However, the overall rate of growth eased to the softest since April.

Lastly, ISM’s non-manufacturing PMI climbed to 58.5% in August from the 55.7% reading seen back in July and factory orders dropped 0.8% to in July after two monthly gains.

On the corporate front, Twitter and Facebook were down 5.87% and 2.78%, respectively, after executives from both companies admitted on Wednesday that they were too slow to act when it came to tackling foreign meddling in US election campaigns.

Dow Jones – Risers

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $141.57 2.41%
Boeing Co. (BA) $351.27 1.45%
Visa Inc. (V) $144.50 1.25%
Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) $69.38 1.09%
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $54.29 0.87%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $205.89 0.85%
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $45.77 0.84%
Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $269.69 0.75%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $136.87 0.74%
Nike Inc. (NKE) $80.40 0.60%

Dow Jones – Fallers

Chevron Corp. (CVX) $115.23 -3.06%
Apple Inc. (AAPL) $223.10 -1.66%
American Express Co. (AXP) $105.40 -1.50%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) $234.50 -1.32%
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) $80.47 -1.11%
Intel Corp. (INTC) $47.26 -0.96%
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $82.65 -0.77%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $110.28 -0.53%
JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $114.09 -0.43%
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $68.03 -0.31%

S&P 500 – Risers

GameStop Corp. (GME) $16.14 14.88%
Frontier Communications Co. (FTR) $5.26 4.16%
CBS Corp. (CBS) $54.62 3.86%
Centerpoint Energy Inc. (CNP) $28.90 3.51%
Ameren Corp. (AEE) $65.62 2.93%
Church Dwight Co Inc. (CHD) $58.12 2.90%
Signet Jewelers Ltd (SIG) $64.02 2.86%
CVS Health Corp (CVS) $76.07 2.80%
Anthem Inc (ANTM) $270.89 2.73%
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) $67.00 2.71%

S&P 500 – Fallers

Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $44.65 -9.87%
KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $107.28 -9.72%
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $127.85 -8.92%
Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) $43.54 -8.80%
Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) $160.05 -6.97%
Alcoa Corporation (AA) $40.36 -6.92%
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) $4.06 -5.80%
Qorvo, Inc. (QRVO) $75.13 -5.71%
Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) $4.97 -5.69%
FMC Technologies Inc. (FTI) $28.51 -5.66%

Nasdaq 100 – Risers

Ctrip.Com International Ltd. Ads (CTRP) $38.98 5.44%
JD.com, Inc. (JD) $27.25 3.61%
Workday, Inc. (WDAY) $144.52 1.62%
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) $346.46 1.55%
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) $113.20 1.48%
Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) $259.75 1.41%
O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $344.70 1.13%
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) $130.35 1.12%
Synopsys Inc. (SNPS) $101.78 1.10%
Paychex Inc. (PAYX) $74.61 1.07%

Nasdaq 100 – Fallers

Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $44.65 -9.87%
KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $107.28 -9.72%
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $127.85 -8.92%
Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) $160.05 -6.97%
Asml Holdings N.V. (ASML) $184.45 -5.47%
Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) $40.27 -5.25%
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $57.79 -3.70%
American Airlines Group (AAL) $38.48 -3.00%
Facebook Inc. (FB) $162.53 -2.78%
Incyte Corp. (INCY) $72.21 -2.72%

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